Friday, March 25, 2016

refashioning a shawl into a dress: yep, you read that right!

Remember I told you that I had a pretty awesome refashion for you in store? Well, I finally managed to take some pictures of the result, so today is the day to inform you of my latest refashion! I'm pretty excited about it because of the following reasons

1) It involved a dress. And dresses are my favorite kind of clothes.
2) It's made from a simple shawl, which usually cost around 0,50 at the thrift shop.
3) It's really easy, and I'm sure you can manage it too!!
4) I haven't seen anyone else doing this, so it feels like an invention ( although, it may be my crappy google-skills that are at play here)

so let's get to it, shall we?

I've had this shawl for quite a long time. I believe I bought it in Barcelona somewhere around 2008, but I haven't worn it for years. My problem with shawls is this: they look lovely in stores, and I love buying them; they're not too expensive, colorful and they never have that problem where your butt doesn't fit into them.
But as soon as you've bought them, the trouble begins. With shawls, I just have one or two favorites that I wear all the time. The other ones.... just wither in my wardrobe.  I must admit that it took me quite a lot of shawls before I realized that.. ( sorry shawls!)

That's why I'm so happy that I figured a way to use them differently: by turning them into a dress.
If you're not too keen on dresses; don't worry: you can easily convert this tutorial into making a tunic or a top: Just make the whole thing a little shorter.

Here's what I did:

First, I folded the shawl once, and placed in on a flat surface.

The process is actually quite simple, but maybe best explained by a "pattern", as you can see in the picture below. It the picture isn't clear enough, don't worry, I'll go through the whole process step by step.

The fold will become the shoulder line. right-angled to this fold, I cut a slit to make a neck. I thought that I nice, deep back would look nice on the dress ( and keeping the back from looking like a big, brown blob), so  I cut the back and front exactly the same.

I figured that a normal hem wouldn't be a good solution for this slit, so I choose to use some interfacing fabric. I simply cut a rectangle from an old sheet, and made a slit in it that matched the one in the shawl.
I placed it on the right side of the fabric, and pinned and sewed around the slit. Then, I simply turned the interfacing around, to the inside of the dress-to-be. then I zigzagged it into place.

At this stage, the "dress" is mainly a shawl with a hole in it. Nevertheless tried it on, on order to figured out where the side seams should be. But then I realized something:

Side boobs.

*peeeep*. Not that I really mind seeing my own side boobs , but that doesn't mean I want the whole world to see them. And this dress -with the short and wide sleeves- gave a generous insight in the anatomy of my upper half every time I moved my arms.
Luckily, the solution was not too difficult: I simply pinned some bust darts in order to keep the fabric there where it should be.

I simply placed my bust darts by putting the dress on and pinning the darts there where I wanted them to be. That was the moment where I realized I really could use a dress form, because I managed to stab my left boob twice while pinning the damned thing. As you can imagine, I decided that I would just copy the right one from the left ;)

The last two steps were really easy, although I didn't photograph them: I sewed the side seams into place, making the dress wide enough to get in and out of, and hemmed the bottom. I added a bit of lace to the bottom for some extra length and detail.

I simply tossed on a black belt, and was ready to go!

Picture- me is having some second thoughts about those tights...

My head was NOT cooperative for pictures
sleeve detail!
ah, at least my head looks happier over here!
Did you enjoy this refashion? I'm pretty sure you'll have a bunch of shawls somewhere that you can use for this too!
If you've tried this, please let me know what your experiences were! 


  1. Wish your photos were better

    1. I can imagine!:) but since my blog is only a private project that I do because I love writing and making thinks, I don't want to bother my boyfriend too much with taking photo's for me all the time. Posing and taking pictures get's in the way of reality and the fun of things, I think. So when a few of them turned out to be blurred, I just left them as they were. I hope you'll forgive me for that decision! :)

  2. This is a really good idea! Sadly my sewing skills are so poor. But I have so many beautiful shawls that I never wear...